UK Government Urged to Do More for Cannabinoid Industry in New Report
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The UK’s CBD industry is “hamstrung” by poor regulation, according to a new report.
But if the UK government adopts some of the 20 regulatory recommendations set out by the report – including a requirement for cannabis testing – the country’s cannabinoid sector will have the chance to flourish, say the report’s authors.
The Hodges review
The report, The Hodges Review: How the UK can become a world leader in cannabinoid innovation, was primarily written by Christopher Hodges, a professor of justice systems at the University of Oxford.
“The regulations encompassing the cannabis sector are wide-ranging and complex, but right now the present rules are poorly calibrated to the risks associated with each product and stifling of economic opportunities,” the report concludes.
Hodges and his co-authors found that in some areas, such as hemp farming, regulations were too restrictive, while in others, such as the CBD consumer sector, regulations were too lax. The latter issue, the authors say, has led to the emergence of a large “grey” market of CBD products that jeopardizes consumer safety.
Ultimately, the report recommends 20 changes to UK cannabinoid policy:
The UK government should…
- Establish a single authority to govern the cannabinoid sector.
- Provide clarity on the issue of trace amounts of cannabinoids in retail products.
- Encourage the creation of a UK Centre of Excellence to gather evidence for cannabinoid applications.
- Roll out a national trial for general practitioners to prescribe medical cannabis.
- Update farming rules to permit licensed growers to extract the controlled parts of the cannabis plant.
- Modernize the Proceeds of Crime Act provisions to create an explicit exemption for private enterprise by entities operating in legal jurisdictions.
- Permit licensed suppliers to export medical cannabis products in bulk outside the UK.
- Introduce guidance for police officers to verify patients’ medical cannabis prescriptions.
- Move towards a national patient registry.
- Create and mandate a set of manufacturing and labelling standards for medical cannabis products.
- Require testing for all medical cannabis and consumer cannabinoid products using independent, accredited laboratories in the UK.
- Permit licensed medical cannabis suppliers to utilize mainstream, signed-for delivery options to reduce the cost to patients of private prescriptions.
- Create a single formulary of available medical cannabis products.
- Provide clarity on the legal status of CBD vaping products.
- Establish an expert committee to help explore options for CBD use by veterinarians.
- Examine and integrate policy on hemp cultivation activity into broader Net Zero efforts.
- Develop more comprehensive surveillance of the UK border to detect illicit imports and non-compliant CBD products entering the UK.
- Clarify that any product derived from synthetic cannabinoid synthesis is, by definition, novel.
- Enforce breaches of cannabinoid-related food laws.
- Collaborate on an education initiative to improve the general understanding of cannabis and cannabinoids among distinct professional and public audiences.
“The analysis in this report and the principles we have outlined lead us to recommend a series of policy changes to help bring about the positive and shared goals that we articulate,” Professor Hodges said in a statement.
“The recommendations are directed both at regulators and industry, with the understanding that both parties have an obligation to cooperate to steward this new industry and support it to develop in an innovative but also safe and responsible way.”
The report was launched on June 27 with a speech by George Freeman, member of parliament and Minister for Science, Research and Innovation.